The honest and objective answer to all the above questions is a STRONG, UNEQUIVOCAL NO. All these highly fabricated claims come ultimately from people like Mr. Ali Akbar Jafarey and Farhang Mehr who are advocating the non-conformist views of the BEAT GENERATION of their youth and other ideals of the 1950’s under the pretense of the gathas of the Prophet Zarathushtra.
It is interesting that these gentlemen talk about “reason and logic” all the time, yet their vague arguments lack any logical, philosophical or historical basis whatsoever.
In Philosophy, any teaching or school of thought which provides only “empty recommendations” and has no mandate or rule to make its teachings efficacious, is called ANARCHY or an anarchical system. (See Emanuel Kant on the subject.)
Absence of any Laws and freedom to choose per one’s own fancy is the very definition of anarchy and cult of self-worship. NO historical, ancient account of Mazdyasna or Zoroastrianism corroborates such absurd speculation about the poetic gathas of the prophet and the subsequent development of Zoroastrian teachings.
Among the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians the only laws were the edicts of kings, the will of the king was supreme and un-resisted. The same may be said in general of other Oriental monarchies, but NO SO about ANCIENT IRAN. The Persian rulers were bound strictly by the rule of their MANY ZOROASTRIAN LAWS. NO other Empire or nation of the antiquity had such an elaborate codification of laws as the ancient Persians, except the Israelites.
To attribute anarchy and lawlessness to the poetic gathas is highly inaccurate and MOST UNFAIR. True, the poetic gathas of the Prophet Zarathushtra are NOT a legal document like the U.S. constitution NOR a narrative document like Homer’s Odyssey.
Instead gathas are inspired sacred poetry, the visions, fervent prayers, foresight, and wisdom teachings of the seer-prophet. They are poetic songs, passionate prayers to a Gd that is all wisdom, intuitive knowledge and foresight, and invocation of his extraordinary, wondrous thoughts/powers/angels.
In their enchanting poetry is embedded the mandates and rules for the realization of the gathic spiritual vision and the triumph of the spirit. The gathic mandates and rules cannot be understood solely within the Judeo-Christian concept of religious laws, but they are binding, mandatory rules nevertheless.
In ancient days these sacred songs were sung to the accompaniment of enchanting music. Concerning their musical accompaniment is less known today. But preponderance of evidence suggests that the “gaah” system in classical Persian music has its origins/roots in their poetic measure. Their connection to music shows not only their delicate nature, but their exquisite rhythm and ORDER.
They call themselves manthras; mind formulas and wise counsels to unleash the hereto unknown powers of mind/spirit, which would transform mind, body and the entire universe; they are constant union with Ahúrá Mazdá, the GD of Vision, Wisdom and Intuitive Genius.
Gathas teach that this world is made out of the magical essence of Gd, hence they enjoin the strict purity and reverence for a nature/universe that is divine, they teach that animals have a soul and much wisdom, hence they ban any cruelty to animals whatsoever; the focus of the Zoroastrian laws is reverence for creation, purity, animal welfare and unleashing of the powers of mind/spirit. They do not have the biblical obsessions with sexual taboos and if there are sexual restrictions, it is because of their supposed impurity and not their inherent immorality.
All Zoroastrian laws have been developed from gathic concepts and teachings through interpretation, reasoning by analogy and precedent. To say that their rule is non-binding and optional is not only absurd, and has NO precedence in few thousand years of Zoroastrian history but erroneously implies that the Prophet did not really mean what he preached.
To say that Zoroastrianism has no dos and don’ts, is simply insincere rhetoric and not only goes against volumes of reliable and unbiased evidence; but implies that Prophet Zarathushtra was wishy-washy, not earnest or resolute and that he preached hypocrisy; NOTHING IS FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
Gathas are about questions and answers, they are thought provoking riddles. They talk about answers to questions, about who are we and where we come from, about the afflictions of the good, the abandonment of the just, about the downtrodden and the oppressed, about the soul and wisdom of animals and their plight and suffering at the hands of men, about the cry of the earth and the living creatures, about combating evil and gloom with all one’s all might, about delighting the spirit of animals and the earth, about the greater allure of deceit and lies than the truth, about unanswered prayers, about refuge found in times of danger and distress, about overcoming doubt, about the best one can be, about virtue and vice, about the battle between good and evil, about life and the living dead, about the two spirits, the bright and auspicious spirit and the broken and gloomy spirit in nature, mortal man and the entire universe, about how ages of this world move in harmony with the seer-will of a higher providence, about the pristine force, the wow-inspiring, passionate mind power, the marvelous and extraordinary power of thoughts, about meditation and power of calm focus, and about the ability of mind/spirit to manifest and realize the ideal, about becoming godlike and a co-worker of the Gd of Genius and Vision, about becoming the gardener of the universe, the guardian and multiplier of cattle, pets, and plants, and all things that grow, about unleashing divinity within, about radiant, beaming happiness, about the most beautiful, heartfelt prayers, about the fulfillment of wishes, about infinite learning and discovery, about a wondrous dominion/realm, about renewal of the physical body, about every remedy and formula, about union with what is eternal and enduring, about a gigantic battle/event, about the conclusion of time, about a fresh new universe, about the ultimate triumph of the spirit.
I like to conclude by the poetry of the prophet In Yasna 46.15, 2nd rhymed verse line and Yasna 46.17, 4th rhymed verse line;
I shall tell you of what holds steadfast, endures and what does not;
That like a wizard sage, you may know what holds firm, lasts and what does not;
The original word for “what holds/endures” and “what does not;” is dáthém and adáthem; this is the same word for “law or what is established,” Avestan dát.
To dismiss whatever one dislikes, and as a result fabricate the poetic gathas and Zoroastrianism per one’s own fancy, is not only NOT FAIR or “logical;” but is simply folly and leads eventually to expose and eventual discredit.